Stolen Bikes

Bicycle-come-unicycle.

Bicycle-come-unicycle.

I think every single Dutch person has a story about how their bike was stolen. Or every person who has ever owned a bicycle in Holland for that matter. I have the distinction of having “my” bicycle stolen before I’d ever used it – my husband, in anticipation of my imminent move to Holland, purchased a bike for me. It was gone before I’d even arrived.

Amsterdam is known as the bike-theft capital of the world. People joke that if you want to buy a cheap bike, all you have to do is go to the Amsterdam Centraal station and buy one for €20 from a desperate junkie muttering “Fiets kopen?” (“Buy a bike?”). Of course, that only encourages theft, and you also risk getting a fine.

There is no escaping it. I know people who locked up their new bikes with multiple locks (including the solid U-shaped locks) and still had them stolen. And not only new bikes are stolen, but also old bikes (“my” bike was an inexpensive second-hand one… but not from a junkie). One novel strategy people take is to decorate their bike in garish colours to make it more conspicuous, thereby supposedly reducing the likelihood of it being stolen. Good luck…

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About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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